Our U.S. Team

The journey to start Allies began when Chris visited a Russian orphanage with his church on a short-term mission trip. Learning about the plight of orphans in Russia broke his heart and birthed a determination to save the lives of those children. Allies was formed in 2011 to help orphans and has since transformed the lives of thousands of children across five continents.

Chris holds a B.A. from Mississippi State University and a Master’s of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ten years as a small business owner and 15 years on staff at a local church provided Chris with the leadership skills and know-how to successfully create an organization that will influence generations across the globe.

Dr. Tatiana Baeva is responsible for instituting the mentorship program that has become the core of how Allies in Youth Development has changed the lives of thousands of orphans. She is our liaison between the United States and other countries where she continues to expand our connections around the world.

Dr. Baeva has a Ph.D. in Russian and a master’s degree in English. She taught Russian, literature, and other subjects at Russian and American universities for 18 years, 10 of which were at University of Texas at Arlington. She created a summer abroad program for UTA and has taken students to Russia for several years, including trips with Allies.

She also volunteered for six years editing the Russian literary and art magazine Leaves. Her hobbies include reading, languages and bilingualism, early childhood education, and neurosciences. Dr. Baeva loves to work on projects helping children and people in need.


Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Karen attended Harding University in Arkansas and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Abilene Christian University. Since 1993, her career in nonprofit fundraising included working at schools, universities, a mission organization, and a children's home before coming to Allies in 2019. Karen has a passion for the well-being and salvation of children, especially orphans, and is devoted to encouraging others to partner with this cause. 

Karen and her husband, David, live in Keller and have two married children and one precious grandson. They are active members of The Hills Church in North Richland Hills.

Margie grew up in Mississippi before moving to Texas in 2005. She left her 20-year career as a lead revenue analyst at Atmos Energy Corporation in 2016 and enjoyed volunteering at various nonprofit organizations. Margie was introduced to Allies through her church and volunteered for several years before God and His miraculous ways led her to join the Allies staff in December 2017.

She loves working alongside Allies volunteers and building relationships with others. Margie also had the privilege of traveling to Russia with Allies twice where she felt at home with the area leaders and enjoyed witnessing the positive impact of the mentoring program on the children.

Margie enjoys reading, designing and drafting residential home plans, and traveling. She has two grown daughters.


Born and raised in Fort Worth and a Texas Christian University graduate, Suzan brings 30 years of fundraising and development experience to Allies. Her previous job titles include Director of Special Events and Director of Development for Fort Worth Christian School as well as Director of Public Relations and School Development at Mount Dora Christian School in Florida. She also worked with Partnership Engagement and Let’s Start Talking Ministries.

Suzan and her husband, Jay, live in North Richland Hills. They have four children and four grandchildren and attend Gateway Church in North Richland Hills.

Karen and her husband, Larry, have been loyal supporters of Allies from the beginning. Their hearts were touched when Founder and CEO Chris Burgin shared his vision for helping orphans. Karen and Larry always had a special desire to serve children and have taught children’s Sunday school at their church for many years.

Karen grew up in west Texas in Abilene and Cisco. She received a B.A. in business administration from Baylor University and had a 40-year career as a corporate tax accountant for several companies, including 24 years with Johnson & Johnson in Arlington. Karen and Larry live in Mansfield and have two daughters and three grandsons, the joys of her life.


Patti has 25 years of development fundraising and marketing experience in the non-profit world. She began her career at American Heart Association followed by UNT Health Science Center and Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington. She also worked as an independent fundraising consultant advancing various local non-profit agencies. She is beyond grateful to be on the Allies staff and share her God-given talents while making a difference for others in need.

Patti loves the outdoors and enjoys traveling with her husband, Adam. When Patti isn’t working or traveling, she is volunteering for Meals on Wheels and her church, Rush Creek Mansfield West. Patti and Adam have one grown daughter, Alexis, and have lived in Mansfield for 21 years.

Mollie joins Allies with an extensive background in business, education, and faith-based service organizations. She raised her family as a business expat in Malaysia, China, Japan, and Russia. This gave her a unique perspective on the world and a passion for helping exploited and under-resourced women and children. She taught middle school Bible and history in Moscow, Russia, led cross-cultural community Bible studies, and served the often forgotten with food and compassion.

Mollie holds an MBA from Willamette University. She and her husband, Jeff, have two married children, and attend Gateway Church where they lead a small group. Mollie also fights for the unborn by serving as an executive board member for a Christian crisis pregnancy center. Mollie loves to pray and is excited to use her experience to help orphans build a better future.



Originally from Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, Heather graduated from Radford University with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. She worked as a reporter for newspapers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia before becoming a stay at home mom for many years.

Heather and her five children live in Mansfield where they attend Life.Church Mansfield and enjoy serving the local community by volunteering at the library and nursing home. After a 2011 mission trip serving orphans in Haiti, Heather’s heart for orphans grew exponentially. She is honored to use her writing and editing background for an organization that is doing so much for children and others around the world.

Mike was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has worked with Allies for more than five years. He graduated from the University of North Texas with a B.A. in radio, television, and film where he also studied the Russian language and Russian history and literature. Since his college days, he hoped to one day travel to Russia and joining the Allies team in 2018 gave him that opportunity. Mike has since taken trips to Russia and Moldova with Allies and said it was very special to meet Allies volunteers in those areas.


Nick Williams, Creative Thinker and Project Director at Beckett Marketing, Inc., has provided web development and creative services for Allies since 2012. He provides guidance and execution of design, marketing, data, and web-related services. Born and raised in Texas, Nick graduated from Abilene Christian University with a B.A. and dual major in advertising and graphic design.

He has a passion to serve where there is a need including helping the homeless, orphans, and widows. He and his wife, Rebecca, have been on short-term mission trips to Honduras, Philippines, Germany, Hungary, and others. They also served as houseparents for Christ's Haven for Children. Nick loves the outdoors, fishing, and traveling. He and Rebecca live in Granbury with their three sons and golden retriever.

A native Texan, Jay was born in Fort Worth and attended Texas Wesleyan University majoring in business. Jay worked as a general contractor and CEO of Jay Jenkins Custom Homes and has more than 25 years experience working in sales and management.

His heart for helping orphans was ignited when his wife, Suzan, came to work at Allies in 2020. Jay is humbled and excited to join the Allies team and play a part in showing leaders how their churches can bring the hope of Jesus Christ to orphans throughout the world. He has a passion for serving God and is on the prayer ministry team at Gateway Church in North Richland Hills. He and Suzan have four children and four grandchildren.



Debbie has been passionate about volunteerism and missions since she was a young adult. She and her husband, Bob, have taken countless mission trips both at home and abroad and have been members of Rush Creek Church for more than 20 years. Most recently, they opened their home to two Russian students during the first Omsk Student Cultural Exchange Program hosted by Allies in 2019.

Debbie has also been an interior designer for 34 years and owned her own design company for 28 years, but is excited to be working where her passion is by helping to empower orphans. Debbie and Bob live in Mansfield and have five children and nine grandchildren. .


Raised in Fort Worth, Joy graduated from Texas Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in English. She became an Allies supporter after attending the Color Their World banquet in 2016. As a life-long learner, she is passionate about educating and empowering orphans, and she feels honored and humbled to be a member of the Allies staff.

Joy and her two children live in Mansfield, and they are active members of Life.Church Mansfield. Joy is a coffee addict, marathoner, and Anglophile who enjoys traveling, reading, and volunteering at her children’s schools.


Rachel grew up in Mansfield and earned a B. A. in psychology from the University of North Texas in 2019 and a master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent psychology in 2022.

She has a heart for community service and helping those in need. She recently became a member of the Mansfield Rotary Club, and was involved in many community projects over the years including Meals on Wheels, the Flag Project, and Habitat for Humanity. She also volunteers at Cook Children’s Hospital. Rachel has a dog, Trixie, and likes to spend time with her family, read, do arts and crafts, and is learning to play the violin.


Sharon grew up in Itasca, Texas and attended Texas Tech University and Perkins School of Theology. She served as a pastor and ministry leader in the Mansfield community for the past 30 years, serving 10 of those years leading ministry to students. She also served as executive pastor, discipleship pastor, missions and serving pastor, and congregational care pastor.

Sharon and her husband, Ron, have been supporters of Allies since 2012, when Sharon traveled with Allies to Russia in its first year. They live in Mansfield and have three adult sons and one amazing grandson. Sharon and Ron are active members of Trinity United Methodist Church in Arlington, where Sharon serves as an associate pastor.

Born and raised in Texas, Rebecca Williams loves to share the good news of what the Lord is doing and is excited to join the partnership engagement team for the Granbury area. She took her first mission trip to Honduras as a junior in high school. That experience stirred a desire in her to serve others around the world, including teaching English lessons using the gospel in Brazil and Hungary.

Rebecca earned her B.S in interdisciplinary studies with a supplemental certification for ELL from University of North Texas. She taught elementary education and served as a houseparent at Christ’s Haven for Children before starting her own family. Rebecca and her husband, Nick, live in Granbury with their three boys and attend StoneWater Church.

A Dallas native, Kate has always thrived in any position where she has been able to care for and celebrate the lives of God’s littlest loves. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2017 with a degree in psychology and has served children ever since. Whether it is a counselor at camp or a tour guide at the zoo, Kate’s heart is undoubtedly for children.

Before joining Allies, she was lead sponsorship coordinator at Orphan Outreach for three years. She recently moved to Mansfield with her husband, Hamilton, and their new baby.

Kelly, originally from Rochester, New York, attended Baldwin Wallace College in Cleveland, Ohio then made her way to Texas as fast as she could. She earned her master’s degree in human resources from Texas State University and worked in hospital systems for 10 years before moving into the nonprofit sector. She has worked for Mansfield Mission Center for four years in human resources and operations.

Kelly lives in Mansfield with her husband, Preston, and their twins, Jake and Layla. She serves on the board of Common Ground Network in Mansfield, and you can usually find her at the baseball fields or at gymnastics cheering on her children.